Delivery Wagon Plans
Delivery Wagon Plans
At one of our auctions I purchased a copy of a 1911 edition of The Blacksmith and Wheelwright which featured a set of plans for a Delivery Wagon. Few categories of horsedrawn vehicles generate as much excitement as a true commercial delivery wagon. I wish we had more opportunities to run them through our auction sales as they bring with them such a delightful mix of history and practicality. So we offer this plan and notes with hopes that the wagon builders out there will more frequently revisit this excellent form. It is noteworthy that the author of this plan speaks so well of the innovations this design represents, innovations which vastly improved the utility of the vehicle. This discussion speaks to the elegance of engineering design prevalent 100 years ago. – LRM
Useful Vehicle for Bakers, Milkmen, Grocers or General Purpose.
The length of city bakers’ and milk delivery wagon bodies is generally 7 feet; width across 42 inches and the 36 inch wheels turn under the body, making the height of the body from the floor 40 inches. Which gives about 3 1/2 inches space between body and wheels when the 1/2 inch thickness of tire is deducted.
The objection to these wagons for general delivery purposes is that they are too short and are suspended too high for getting in and out and on this account the “low down” milk, bakers’ and butchers’ delivery wagons were designed and built. While the low down delivery wagon is an improvement, the objectionable features are increased. Suppose the low down body is designed with a regular wagon gear as shown on this working draft and the wheels have to turn under the body, with a five feet wide track, the required space is about 36 inches and if the gear is set in 2 to 3 inches from the front end of the body the space must be 38 to 39 inches, making the length of the gear from center to center 6 feet 10 inches as on this draft while on a city Bakers’ delivery wagon the length of the gear is 5 ft. only. Suppose we carry this gear back, the wheels will strike against the body and will not turn short sufficiently for the width of the street. Suppose we put on high wheels and put under it a short turn fifth wheel with the king bolt set back 15 inches or more, it would turn shorter but not short enough for a 45 inch wide body. All these objections are avoided if we remove the drop center, but then the body will be too high from the floor and two steps are needed on each side for going in and out.
To shorten the frontgear is impracticable, but the rear gear could be moved somewhat toward the front. If the rear part be suspended on elliptical springs, the wheels could be moved forward 6 inches, the length of the gear could be reduced to 6 feet 4 inches, and the length of the body could be reduced to 7 feet or 7 feet 6 inches. The objections are in this case if the body is not shortened it will have too much overhang, and if shortened it will have a cut-off appearance, or in other words, it will destroy the proportions of the body.
Another disadvantage is the expense of building the low down bodies compared with the straight sill structures. If the low down bodies are built without any edge plates applied to the inside or outside of sills, the bodies are not strong enough to carry the weight, and will sag at the center. With a straight sill, no edge plates are necessary and it will carry the necessary weight, but with all those objections the low down wagons increase every year. Their convenience outweighs all other objections. They are handy for country delivery and are fitted up inside to suit either grocers, bakers, butchers or milk delivery, or a combination of the four.
Construction of the Body
The height of the body from the floor in front is 39 inches, and the amount of drop 15 inches, making the height from the floor to door rocker 24 inches; easy to go in and out with one step on each side. The rear drop is 8 inches and could be 2 to 3 inches less by dropping the spring bar and cross spring. The length of the body is divided as follows: the front length is calculated to turn under the body 35 inches. The width of the door is 19 inches, and rear and front door joint to the rear end, 45 inches. This length could be reduced by using a spring shorter than 43 inches. In such a case lower rear wheels must be used, because moving the wheels forward would interfere with the opening of the door.
The rockers are 1 3/4 x 2 5/8 inches. The 3/8 inch thick panels are rabbeted into the thickness and the joints covered with moldings. The bottom boards are rabbeted into the rockers from the bottom surface as shown on the bottom view. The sizes for rocker plates are either 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches wide. On this draft the sizes of the front and parts are 1 3/4 x 2 1/8 inches. If the body were 3/4 inch narrower all the four corner parts could be made 1 3/4 inches square. 1 3/4 inches is required for the glass frame to drop and on top of the key is put to hold the glass frames in position, also the lining boards to close all the inside spaces. The front corner posts must be rabbeted on two sides each for the glass frames to slide up and down, 3/8 inch deep. The rear corner posts are 1 3/4 inches square without any glass frame rabbets, but the 3/8 inch thick outside panels are rabbeted in from both outside surfaces, which is also done to the front corner posts. All four former posts are lapped into the rockers and the top rails are lapped to the posts. The four stationary door posts are dressed 1 3/4 x 2 1/8 inches, 1 3/4 inches is the thickness on side view, and 2 1/8 inches the size across. The reason why it is thicker is on account of the lining boards, which are rabbeted into the posts from the inside, and the 3/8 inch thick outside panels are rabbeted into the posts from the outside. One side on each of these four stationary door posts has a glass frame rabbet. These posts on this lower ends are lapped into the rockers, and on the upper ends the top rails are lapped to it.
Besides the eight posts just explained are four more, two in front and two in the rear part of the body. The sizes of all four are alike, 1 1/2 x 1 3/4. On the front ones the glass frame rabbet is on both sides while on the rear on it is on one side only. The framing top and bottom is the same as on the other posts. On the outside surfaces the 3/8 inch thick panels are glued over it and the inside surfaces the 5/16 inch thick lining is rabbeted in, and on the inside surfaces of door posts the rabbets are cut in for the glass frames to slide up and down. The size of the glass frame stuff is 1/2 x 2 inches. Sufficient play room must be given when the glass frames are painted to move by the rabbet easily and also allowance must be made for the swelling.
The size of all the fence rails in 13/16 x 2 7/8 inches and the tip rails 1 1/4 x 6 1/2 shown at center, tapered down on both ends as shown on the side view. The front center part is 1 1/2 x 1 3/4; on top there is a key 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches to allow the glass frame to go in, and below the key is the 3/8 inch thick lining board. There are two end rails on each end. Two are 1 1/4 x 1 7/8 inches curved the same, top and bottom. The other two are 2 inches thick by 6 inches deep at center and curved at top. The rest of the top has eight curves 7/8 square, and the top is covered with 5/16 by 1 3/4 strips, bent on one edge on inside surface only.
The rear has a gate which is shown open and in position to put on baskets and boxes, and held in position when down on a circular guide with a stop on rear end. If wanted to drop it shield up with a strap or chain. The upper part is framed with a glass frame to drop and sizes of posts are 1 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches, same as the small posts on the sides. All the bottom boards are 1/2 inch thick, and each lengthwise joint is left open 3/16 inch which are all shown on bottom view. To strengthen the bottom boards and to keep them well in position, two strips 3/8 x 1 3/4 are screwed to bottom boards and cross bars also shown on bottom view. The front gear under this body is best adapted for a wagon of this kind, it is very strong and most suitable for hard work: its appearance is far superior to the regular wagon gears and can be used with short and one single tree or with a pole with shaft removed and replaced with single trees without removing the center single tree. The rear part is suspended on three springs clipped under the axle outside of the body.
The dimensions for wheels, springs, and axles for such a wagon are as follows:
- Warner Patent Hubs
- Diameter of wheels without tires, 34 x 46 inches
- Diameter of hubs, front and back, 4 1/2 inches
- Diameter of hub flange outside 6 3/4 inches
- Diameter hub bands, 3 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches
- Length of hubs, front and back, 8 1/2 inches
- Width and thickness of spokes, 1 1/2 x 13/16 inches
- Number of spokes, front and back 14 x 16
- Thickness and depth of rims, 1 11/16 x 1 7/8 inches
- Thickness and width of tires, 1 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches
- Elliptic Springs Front
- Length from centers of bolt 36 inches
- Open out to out, 10 1/2 inches
- Width of plates 1 3/4 inches
- Number of plates, 5
- Thickness of main plates, No 2
- Thickness of remaining plates, Nos, 2,2,2,3
- Clipped top and bottom
- Three Springs Back (Wagon Style)
- Side Springs
- Length from centers of bolts 43 inches
- Length for front part, 23 inches
- Length of rear part, 20 inches
- Open out to out, 7 inches
- Width of plates 1 7/8
- Number of plates, 6
- Thickness of main plates, No 2
- Thickness of remaining plates, Nos 2,2,2,3,4
- Clipped to axle
- Cross Spring
- Length from centers of bolts, 45 inches
- Open out to out, 6 1/2 inches
- Width of plates, 1 3/4 inches
- Number of plates, 6
- Thickness of main plates, No 1
- Thickness of remaining plates, Nos 2,2,2,3,3
- Clipped to cross bar
- Plain Wagon Axles front and back
- Size of axle arms and square ends, 1 1/2 inches
- Size of axle at center, 1 5/8 inches
- Length of axle arms for 8 1/2 inch long hubs
- Width of track, out to out, 61 inches
- Width of body, 42 inches